Matcha For Dummies
Sit down, kids. Class is in session.
Alrighty, this is going to be a long-ass post because I got a lot of ‘splainin to do. Not mansplaining, but matchasplaining. If you manage to read through the end because you are a grown-ass adult who can muster a greater attention span than a cocker spaniel, you will be rewarded with some never-before-seen (okay, definitely before-seen) footage of yours truly whippin’ up a hot cup of the good stuff. I’m your drug dealer, and the drug is caffeine…and polyphenols. And the amino acid L-theanine. And dopamine when you make your first mug of matcha and feel good about your life.
I love me a good coffee as much as the next girl, but matcha? The way to my heart. I love matcha because it’s so…easy. My extent of coffee knowledge ends at light vs. dark roasts. There’s the grind size, the “bloom” technique, the different processing methods, etc. Matcha, on the other hand, is great because it’s really not that hard. So when I see people making sad matcha “lattes” with grainy chunks of dull green powder floating around, it just breaks my heart. Please, don’t be that person. Let me help you. You can do it.
The only decision you’ll have to make is whether you wanna be a pleb and buy culinary grade matcha, or be ~*extra*~ and splurge on ceremonial grade matcha. Not to shame you into one decision or another, but…actually, I am going to shame you. Just bite the bullet and get ceremonial grade. It’s worth investing in. Unless you know what you’re looking for, the average culinary grade matcha is going to be a dull green vomit color which doesn’t have any of the vibrancy that we’re going for. “Culinary” is often code for “shitty brown powder mass-produced in China.” (Sorry, China. No offense.) If you’re drinking matcha that’s not green AF, why even bother? Just get some old-ass green tea and grind it up and chew on that instead. (Once upon a time, in a desperate situation, I’ve actually been there, tried that. 1.5/10 do not recommend.)
Okay, so I lied.
There is a little bit of fine print in the categorization (read: classism) of matcha so I’ll just cut to the chase. Basically, all you need to know is that most culinary matcha that you can find online for the price of dirt is precisely that. Most ceremonial matcha? Expensive AF, and so fancy that it’s meant to be savored on its own, just traditionally whisked using a bamboo chasen into water to make a purist, holier-than-thou drink. If you’re somewhere between basic and extra, like me, and want to bastardize that matcha by drowning it in milk and honey, you should either buy a lower tier ceremonial grade, or a really high-quality culinary.
If you’re like most people searching for cheap matcha to buy off Amazon, I’ve already saved you the time & obsessive scrolling and found the best bang for your buck. I use this matcha, which is is a lower tiered ceremonial grade, which means it’s not quite as fancy and full-bodied in its flavor. But at around $35 for 100 grams (I did the very easy math for you, that’s $0.35/gram), it’s less than half the cost of most other ceremonial grade matcha, which clocks in at around $0.79/g. I ain’t lying – do a cursory search for ceremonial grade matcha and calculate the cost…or don’t, because I already went through the trouble. And if you can afford the top-tier matcha, I’m happy for you. I truly am. But for the rest of us, don’t bother. My favorite ceremonial-but-not-too-braggy-about-it matcha has never steered me wrong. And it passes my #1 test for quality, which is how vibrant green my drinks turn out with it. And with the vibrancy comes the assurance that you’re getting fresher & more concentrated antioxidants and amino acids from tea leaves that were grown in the shade under prime conditions and given daily positive affirmations, etc. etc. But the bottom line is you’ll be willing to ‘gram this shit.
If you must buy culinary (and I’ll only judge you a little bit), buy this stuff. It’ll still be a vibrant enough green for (you guessed it) culinary purposes like baking and making lattes, and it’s only $0.19/gram so you won’t be breaking the bank.
Alright, I’m glad I got that off my chest. Are we ready to do this?
Throw away your brown-ass culinary matcha. Really, if you have some of that stuff sitting around, chances are it’s old as shit. I’m trying to help you live your best life, so at least meet me halfway here. (Also, pro tip, keep your ~*ceremonial™*~ matcha stored in an airtight container in the fridge to keep it fresh & limit the oxidation process.)
Heat up 8 oz. your desired milk. If you can afford it, whole grassfed milk is the tits. (Pun intended.) If you buy lower fat milk, the resulting matcha will be lower in fat, calories, and joy. If you use nondairy milk, it will be fine too, I guess. I personally hate almond milk, but you skinny bitches enjoy. Whatever floats your boat. Don’t boil your milk – warm it till it’s hot to the touch, about 175° F/80° C – too hot and you’ll be destroying some of the flavor & beneficial properties of the matcha, which will make both you and your drink bitter.
You could go old school and use a traditional bamboo chasen to whisk your matcha with a little hot water to make a paste first, but for a frothy latte it’s not the most efficient route. Ain’t nobody got time for that! This is a post for the PEOPLE. For the basic bitches who don’t want to be so basic no more. Pour your warmed milk into a blender with 1 tsp. matcha and desired sweetener (1 tsp honey is great. Lavender syrup is also A+). Then let ‘er rip. Blend for at least a full minute – you’re not just mixing all the ingredients together but trying to incorporate air to get that frothy foam cap at the end. I don’t use a fancy blender – I literally use this cheap-ass personal blender – and it does the job just fine!
Pour into your favorite mug. If you blended it long enough, there should be some bubbles already forming at the top. And here’s my best-kept secret of all: if you can wait a couple minutes, the bubbles start popping, leaving behind the suspended matcha particles, which results in a deep green foam cap. It’s perfection. Drink your easy, breezy, beautiful, green as f*ck matcha and feel good about your life.
Here’s a printable (and less lengthy) recipe to bookmark/commit to memory/inscribe upon your heart.
Alright, you’ve made it this far. Now you’re a certified matcha snob and can go around spreading the gospel. Remember, friends don’t let friends drink culinary matcha.
As a token of my appreciation for your readership, please appreciate this footage of yours truly making matcha for some stock footage for my friend Maxwell Monty‘s videography business. You may notice I pretend to mix it with a tiny whisk because we deemed it more aesthetic for the stock footage purposes. Don’t do that. Definitely blend your matcha. And definitely blast Dre while you’re at it.
It should probably go without saying, but the brands I mentioned didn’t sponsor me. I’m just, you know, really opinionated about what you should be spending your money on. Here’s a list of the products I recommended. If you want to help me pay off my credit card (or at least subsidize my online shopping addiction), use my affiliate links when you go forth and procure your matcha-making supplies! Or just Venmo me.